I’ve already spoken here about why Marbella is worth a visit, especially the beautiful Marbella Old Town, but there are two cute Spanish towns to visit from Marbella that are well worth the 1 hour journey.
The first is Ronda, a mountaintop city with a Moorish old town facing across a deep gorge to a 15th Century ‘new town’, connected by two famous bridges.
I loved exploring the cobbled, narrow, winding streets lined with orange trees and old white houses with wonky shutters, especially as it was much quieter and less touristy here than some of the other Spanish spots we had visited. This could also have been because we arrived at lunchtime when everyone was having a siesta but I felt that the abandoned streets really helped us to appreciate the history of this beautiful place. Loved it here.
There are also sweeping views across dramatic plains and the partially presevered 12th Century Arab baths (although be warned, there is a steep and sweaty climb back up to Ronda town from the baths)!
That night we stayed by the white village of Grazalema in the national park about a 40 minute drive from Ronda. It was a very small, sleepy, traditional town with hardly any English speakers there and just one major hotel which we stayed at called Hotel Fuerte Grazalema, which was mostly full of Spanish families. It was a completely different change of pace, especially to Marbella and Malaga, and we liked testing our Spanish on locals before watching the sunset over the mountains.
The second town worth mooching around is Mijas, which we visited when staying in Malaga.
Mijas is another traditional Spanish white town with a relaxed atmosphere, lots of wine bars, independent clothing shops and a fab lookout point with a small church and beautiful views across to the ocean. Just be warned, the streets for driving are super narrow and take you through all the pedestrian areas, so it can be slow progress to leave!
Are there any other places in Spain worth visiting? I’ve heard good things about Nerja on the other side of Malaga!